European banks expect more regulations on banker bonuses

A giant symbol of the European Union's currency, the euro, stands outside the headquarters of the European Central Bank in the central German city of Frankfurt am Main.

TEXT OF STORY

JEREMY HOBSON: There were 80,000 customer complaints to regulators about banks this year. That's the highest amount in 15 years of record keeping. Analysts say this growing anger could lead to more tough rules on financial institutions.

Meanwhile, tougher rules could be announced as soon as today for European banks. Marketplace's Stephen Beard joins us now live from London with more on this story. Good morning.

STEPHEN BEARD: Hello Jeremy.

HOBSON: What are the Europeans doing to go after the banks now?

BEARD: A European regulator is outlining plans today for a crackdown which is Europe-wide covering all 27 EU countries, including Britain. And the rules are likely to go much further than the British rules which are already in place. The bankers are not going to be happy. The British regular is planning to endorse the plan and impose it within days to head of the traditional Christmas bonus jamboree.

HOBSON: The bonus jamboree, and how big a cap on the bonuses are we talking about?

BEARD: We don't know yet, but most controversially it's likely that there will be a plan to limit the overall size of the bonus to a ratio with the basic salary. So the days of the bankers pocketing bonuses 50 times their basic salaries could be numbered, in Europe.

HOBSON: What are the banks saying?

BEARD: They're not happy. And it's not just the bankers. Stuart Frasier, a spokesman for the whole London financial district told me he's concerned because these rules will only apply in Europe.

STUART FRASIER: We will be at a competitive disadvantage and over time international operations will go to more favorable environments.

But the curves would almost certainly be imposed. Public anger against bankers is unabated here, especially in Ireland where opposition parties are calling for a 99 percent tax on bankers bonuses.

-They won't go to Ireland -- 99% tax on banker bonuses.

HOBSON: That is a high tax. Marketplace's Stephen Beard in London, Stephen have a good weekend.

BEARD: And you Jeremy.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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